President Obama says American pope would be effective

No American has ever served as pontiff

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is rejecting the notion that an American pope would be too closely aligned with the U.S. government.

Obama says the Catholic bishops in the U.S. "don't seem to be taking orders from me." And he says an American pope would preside just as effectively as a leader of the Catholic church from any other country.

Cardinals are meeting in the Vatican to vote for a new pope. No American has ever served as pontiff and some cardinals worry an American pope's actions would be viewed as serving the U.S. instead of the church.

The president, in an interview with ABC News aired Wednesday, says the new leader of the Catholic church will have "a tremendous and positive impact on the world."

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